Philanthropy in Action

The power of generosity makes possible the very best care. Health-changing gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations help us advance medicine and improve patients’ lives.

“The first money I ever earned when I was a teenager, I remember my mom saying to me, ‘Who are you going to make a donation to?'” — Sarah Krevans, Sutter Health president and CEO.

Vintner gives profits to Sutter ALS center to honor his late wife’s memory

In 2007 after 34 years of blissful marriage, Barry Collier lost the love of his life, his wife Sue, to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). In Sue’s memory, Barry—who owns Collier Falls Winery in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County—has pledged to gift 100 percent of the profits in perpetuity from a vineyard of Syrah known as “Sue’s Block” to the Forbes Norris ALS Research and Treatment Center at Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Foundation, where Sue received her care. The gift will help support ALS research and treatment. The Forbes Norris ALS Center is one of the largest ALS clinical research and care centers in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of neuromuscular disease research and treatment for over 25 years.

quote marks“It’s a way I can support something good from something Sue and I created together. It’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s what we can do. If everyone did what they could do, we might solve this terrible disease.” — Barry Collier, owner Collier Falls Winery

quote marks“The Sutter Health Biobank and Precision Medicine Initiative will help to find more precise ways to treat patients with rare and common diseases. It will offer patients earlier and more effective ways to diagnose disease and prevent disease progression, as well as options for treatment decision-making.” — Walter “Buzz” Stewart, Ph.D., MPH, Sutter Health vice president and chief research officer

Biobank makes possible new approaches to preventing, treating disease

Highly individualized care and targeted therapies based on a person’s genetic makeup, environment and lifestyle. It’s a future vision for health care called “precision medicine,” that Sutter Health is closer to making a reality. In 2015, Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) reached its fundraising goal to launch the Sutter Health Biobank and Precision Medicine Initiative, receiving more than $4 million from generous donors (as well as a matching donation from Sutter Health) to make possible this new approach to preventing and treating disease.

How does it work? Let’s say a patient with cancer has her tumor cells tested for specific markers or genetic quirks. This information is then used to select highly targeted therapy based on these genetic characteristics. But before this can happen, doctors and researchers need much more data about specific diseases and those who are at risk for them before these targeted therapies can be developed—and this is where the Sutter Health Biobank and Precision Medicine Initiative come into play. Over the next few years, hundreds of thousands of blood samples from Sutter Health patients who have given their consent will be deposited into the Biobank. These samples contain genetic information, proteins and other substances that one day could be identified as related to specific conditions—and will be linked to the patient’s electronic health record. Sutter Health scientists and researchers will then be able to use the samples for research that could lead to new precise and revolutionary treatments.

$100,000 grant will increase screening, support for adolescent behavioral health

After a series of teen suicides rocked local communities on the San Francisco Peninsula, doctors at Sutter Health’s Mills-Peninsula Health Services (MPHS) and Palo Alto Medical Foundation realized that young adults often do receive care for depression, substance abuse, anxiety and other behavioral health issues that they desperately need. A $100,000 grant to the Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation from the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation will support and expand screening, referral and integrated intervention services to adolescents receiving their care at MPHS and PAMF. The comprehensive Adolescent Behavioral Health (ABH) project—a five year pilot program that is supported entirely by donations—addresses the behavioral health system in a proactive, systemic way to ensure adolescents receive care for untreated behavioral health conditions. Nearly 200 individuals and charitable organizations have supported the $3.3 million project, making gifts ranging from $3 to $500,000.

quote marks“Having eight grandchildren, I see a lot of what’s going on with adolescents and the stress they’re under. Everyone needs to know that if they are in trouble, if they are experiencing anxiety, depression or stress, there is help out there, and there is no reason to be ashamed. The ABH project is going to make it as easy as possible for teenagers to get the care they need.” —  Blair Stratford, who supported ABH with a generous donation from her family’s KBK Foundation.

1 in 5

Teenagers in the United States with a “seriously debilitating” mental illness

Only 20%

Of teens who need help get it.

8 to 10 years

Typical delay between the onset of behavioral health symptoms and intervention

$450,000 gift brings cancer infusion services closer to home in Amador County

Many cancer patients in Amador County have to travel an hour or more to receive infusion services, such as chemotherapy—a hardship for patients and their families in addition to a devastating cancer diagnosis. To help bring infusion services closer to home, the Spinty Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Amador County, donated $450,000 toward a $1.2 million infusion therapy center in Jackson. With this gift and $24,000 in other donations, Sutter Amador Hospital Foundation raised the majority of funds needed to receive a matching grant from Sutter Health to construct the new 2,500-square-foot infusion therapy center. In addition to the infusion center, Sutter Amador Hospital received a $151,000 community gift and a $150,000 Sutter Health matching donation to purchase a Tomosynthesis 3D Mammography Unit and a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Attachment to detect breast cancer more efficiently and effectively

Architectural rendering of infusion suite at Sutter Amador Hospital

Architectural rendering of infusion suite at Sutter Amador Hospital

$3 million in community donations grows integrated geriatric, palliative care

Thanks to $3 million in donations from throughout the community, Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation expanded its geriatric and palliative care services on its Palo Alto campus. The new 2,500-square-foot Guzik Family Center—named on behalf of a generous family donation—serves patients of the two programs and their family caregivers in a calm and inviting atmosphere. Geriatric and palliative care teams work side-by-side and collaborate to provide multidisciplinary care to older adults and patients with chronic, serious illnesses.

$5 million gift makes radiation treatment safer, faster, more effective and accurate

Many of our patients now receive state-of-the-art radiation treatment in less time thanks to a $5 million donation that brought a TrueBeam STx linear accelerator to the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley. The gift from Better Health East Bay allow patients to receive their radiation therapies six to eight times faster than was possible with previous machines—with improved accuracy, effectiveness and safety. It also expands the treatment options for patients with certain complex cancers who were previously referred elsewhere for care.

$310,500 donation supports pediatric music therapy

Music has an extraordinary power to bring comfort and peace. Recent clinical studies show music therapy provides evidence-based benefits for young hospital patients, including a decreased need for sedation for pediatric procedures and increased relaxation and other healing benefits. To encourage this healing art and promote its benefit among young patients, Sutter Medical Center Foundation in 2015 raised $160,500 for “Sophie’s Place,” a music therapy center inside Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center, part of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. Sutter Health matched the foundation’s generous donation for a total gift of $310,500 toward the music therapy program.

Sophie’s Place was founded in 2014 with a $150,000 donation from The Forever Young Foundation, the charitable organization of former 49ers’ quarterback Steve Young and his wife Barb. It was named in honor of the Young’s family friend, Sophie Barton, who shared her love of music with pediatric patients until she passed away at age 17 from a heart condition.